Blog-watch: pregnancy updates

Well everyone, Cassandra Forsythe finally had her baby a few weeks ago.  Many congratulations to her and her husband! 

Very impressively she did a super long post all of 24 hours later to tell us all about her birth experience.  I do feel a little sorry for her husband who doesn’t seem to come out well on how he dealt with it while it was happening – though she does say that he’s taken to fatherhood incredibly well, so good for him!  I really recommend that you all take time to read it.  Even if, like me, you don’t intend ever getting pregnant, there are still things to be learned from her tale.

To celebrate the birth of April Susan Pribanic I’ve collected together a couple of recent interesting news and research articles I’ve seen floating about on the internet in the last few weeks about pregnancy.  This is in particular for all of you ladies I know who are currently on your way through the pregnancy journey or thinking of starting out on that road.

  • To start with, a recent study published in the Journal of Clinical Endocrinology & Metabolism has shown that women who exercised on a stationary bike, following a home-based cycling program from 20 weeks gestation through to delivery gave birth to smaller babies without changing the maternal insulin sensitivity.  However, this helpful light-weight summary from the BBC News site, and a slightly more in-depth article in Science Daily highlight that this is particularly relevant in light of other studies that found that large birth weights is associated with increased risk of obesity for the child.  The babies born during this study however were no shorter than other babies, instead they seem to carry less fat, so the exercise done by the mothers has not stunted the growth of the babies in the womb but instead restricted the amount of fat that is put on by the babies.  What is worth noting is that the exercise carried out for this study was aerobic rather than resistance training.
  • Unfortunately a separate study reported in Medical News Today suggests that fewer than 1 in 4 pregnant women meet the physical activity guidelines set down by the American Congress of Obstetricians and Gynecologists in 2002.  This seems particularly sad when you consider it alongside such positive studies as the one mentioned above and a meta-analysis published in 1991 which summarised that women exercising in pregnancy did not suffer adverse effects and in fact, in many cases, the amount of exercise they were doing was exceeding the recommended limitations set down by the American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists at the time.
  • If the subject of exercise in pregnancy is of interest (which it probably is if you’ve read this far), then it may be worth getting hold of a copy of the update study, published in Clinics in Sport Medicine in 2000.  While a little out-dated now, it concludes that beginning or continuing a program of recreational exercise (so a fair amount of aerobic exercise in the mix) during pregnancy is safe and beneficial for healthy women and their offspring.
  • Moving away from the topic of exercise to the controversial topic of whether you can drink during pregnancy, recent research reported in The Daily Telegraph seems to suggest that drinking any alcohol at all during pregnancy could result in your child developing epilepsy.  They also mention that previous studies have shown that drinking in pregnancy has been connected with rates of alcoholism, drug abuse, depression and even Parkinson’s and stroke.  They also say that the best advice is to abstain entirely during pregnancy.  Plenty of women I know of seem to have drunk alcohol in moderation during their pregnancies and these horror stories do not seem to have followed through for their children so I feel that there is a bit of an element of scare-mongering in this article.  But it is very much up to each woman to make their choice.

My best wishes to anyone reading this who is pregnant.  I hope this and other pregnancy blog-watch posts that I’ve done are of help to you in deciding how to approach this important stage of your life.


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